The Rudolph Story
The story below is a repost. Pictures are from The Library of Congress. This was written like James Joyce. There is an appearance by Gerald Rudolph Ford, and his women. Betty was a merry soul.
Someone posted a bit of revisionism about a holiday classic. As he sees it, “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” is about racism.
In a bit of yuletime synchronicity, the urban mythbusters at Snopes posted a piece about Rudolph the same day. It seems as though the Rudolph story was originally written for the Montgomery Ward Stores. The idea was to print a Christmas booklet to give to customers. A staff writer named Robert L. May was picked for the job.
Originally, there were concerns about the red nose, and the connection to heavy drinking. At the time, the original meaning of “merry christmas” had been forgotten. Merry meant intoxicated, and a merry christmas was a drunken one. The booklet was released anyway, and was a big hit with shoppers.
Mr. May had a brother in law named Johnny Marks, who was musically gifted. Mr. Marks wrote the song, and somehow or another Gene Autry came to sing it. A story (which PG heard once, but cannot find a source for) had Mr. Autry doing a recording session. The session went very smoothly, and the sides scheduled to be recorded were finished early. There was a half hour of studio time paid for. Someone produced copies of “Rudolph”, gave them to the musicians, and the recording was knocked out. It became a very big hit.
Gene Autry had a radio show, “Gene Autry’s Melody Ranch”. He created the “cowboy code”. Number five gets our attention today. Under this code, the cowboy must:
1. never shoot first, hit a smaller man, or take unfair advantage.
2. never go back on his word, or a trust confided in him.
3. always tell the truth.
4. be gentle with children, the elderly and animals.
5. not advocate or possess racially or religiously intolerant ideas.
6. help people in distress.
7. be a good worker.
8. keep himself clean in thought, speech, action and personal habits.
9. respect women, parents and his nation’s laws.
10. be a patriot.
“Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer” has become a beloved standard, without the troubling religious implications of many holiday songs. It is the second biggest selling record of all. The only song to sell more is “White Christmas”. You just can’t get away from race.